Black, Pleasured, Beached

By | Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Sad Failures of Blackpool Pleasure Beach

I have been going to BPB for a number of years and so have seen it evolve and change over time. I am also a big fan of theme parks and fairs and I think I probably have enough experience of them to contrast and compare.

Let me say that I like BPB. I have fond memories of it from my youth and I know many of the rides from frequent travel on them. But I think it has some crises of identity that need to be solved, and those crises reflect Blackpool as well.

Entrances

To enter the park you must first purchase your ticket or wristband for rides. If you are not going to be going on any rides then you must still pay five pounds to enter. Now I know many places charge an entry fee because it is an experience they are providing, but those other places also have more theming, which we will come to, and minor attractions. BPB does this, because they can, because people who want to be with their family but cannot ride anything are easy to fleece.

A further fleecing is the fast pass, some parks charge, some don’t. I don’t mind that they do but they try to sell it as a value, it isn’t. It is a way in which to make money. End of.

Also, many other parks have a parent pass. Two parents with young children who can’t go on rides are often allowed to use the fast pass so that only one of them need queue for the long wait part. Common in Disney and Universal and totally absent in BPB. They may as well say ‘fuck you, give us the money’.

In Security

Then we have security, and please forgive me while I fall about laughing. You are required to have your bag searched and to pass through a metal detector, a common piece of nonsense we all suffer with in a modern western world. But they did not search the pram I took in, I could have stored weaponry, in fact I could have sneaked in a modest sized rifle under our double pram.

They also confiscated my tripod. My mini tripod for my iPhone. I guess so I couldn’t use it as a weapons mount for the M16 under the pram, or so I couldn’t shoot professional film on my 5D MKII with a 100-400 lens that I took in without a blink. Also, I could have fitted my pro tripod under the pram.

Security guards walking around the site had flakjackets on and handcuffs, I mean wtf! I thought we had entered a barracks not a family themed (again please hear that in a sarcastic voice) area. If you need to stand guard over the fountains during a display you don’t send the security guards who look like Rambo, you send somebody with a pleasant smile who is backed by Rambo hiding out of sight. I don’t want to see that level of aggressive security, I don’t think it makes for a pleasant experience to make me feel that this place is so unsafe they need to wear armour to stop you running through a fountain.

Theme?

Now lets talk about the theming. The one section of the park they have got right is the Nickelodeon World. Aimed at younger children, full of safer rides and great theming. The staff put of children’s displays, have character photographs and song and dance routines. Excellent, well done.

The rest of the park is a mish-mash. Fit what we can in where we can. Place theming to the ride but don’t attempt to merge or style sections. If a ride disappears then leave a huge empty space that looks like the council would move travellers to. Just nasty. No attempt to hide the space with themed boards or displays or potted plants, just the debris of visitors and general dismay.

Tacky to the Last

The traditional fairground activities, tests of strength and skill to win a huge and more than piss poor tacky prize are also unwelcome. Why have such massive and silly gifts. Okay they amuse you for a short while until you realise that any five year old presented with this would have to have a strong diet of Japanese horror and manga to understand the need for such a torture piece. They are a melding of excesses and poorly aimed award. ‘Surely it is worth more if it is bigger’. I wouldn’t want one if they tried to give it to me.

What is wrong with a smaller prize. Size doesn’t make it better.

BPB, like other theme parks, are an enclosed space and they love to squeeze you a little more over the food. The one difference is they do have an all you can eat pizza which represents good value for families, it is a pity they don’t train their staff.

Totally Staffed!

And we segway into staff visibility and training. BPB believes that a small logo on a jacket (black jacket) is a good way to identify their staff. Well it is. If they are four feet or less away and no one is stood in front of them. The general staff visibility is poor. The training is laughable.

It was a warm afternoon and someone fainted nearby. When people looked around a staff member couldn’t be found. The staff member on a ride couldn’t or didn’t know they could leave their ride at that time, and so the person had to lie on the floor while passers by tried to round up staff. Someone was dialling 999 when a staff member arrived, looked worried and then that staff member left to find someone else.

I have no more words for that one.

Higher visibility of clothing for your staff, maybe a bright, fun and friendly colour so they are easy to spot.

Eugh, d’ Toilet

Finally, the toilets. Some of these are old so there is no baby change in the mens, meh, it happens. The modern block is nice. Gracefully tiled, new basins with automatic taps and fast dryers. Lovely floors and a giant metal trough to piss in. Well thanks for that, I want to feel like an animal, I want my, one day to be an 8 year old, to be intimidated by the openness and smell of your troughs.

If you are going to have condom machines, which I personally don’t think you should in a family park, could you not have ones that are for safe sex and birth control as opposed to ones that only serve a ‘tickler, glow in the dark, flavoured,’ or a personal joy, ‘novelty shaped,’ jhonnie?

Once more, What The Fuck…or in the words of my good friend t0m ‘what the ducking fuck’…

This is not the message to give to the nice new toilets next to your under-5s fantasy world you colossal fuck-wits.

I would say excuse my profanity, but they deserve this level of profane. Decide what the fuck type of message you want to give.

To conclude

BPB, you are an anachronism attempting to move forward and you are doing it badly. Stop catering to the potential profits of the Stag and Hen shite/nights. If they want to come and play at a family location then enforce sensible behaviour from them with exclusion on misbehaviour.

Stop indulging this.

Crappy displays of strength, piss troughs, excess charges, open wounds and litter…

You make us pay just to see inside, don’t then show us this, it is trivial and fairly easy to improve. I say this because your most popular area was the one world where you got it right, where you themed it well and offered less tacky gifts. You can change, and you can do it by stopping the advertisement of condom-flavoured seaside bawdy. That is an experience that only the most die-hard of retard would actively promote as a sensible business focus.

-mdk

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